The following statement was read to the Boulder City Council on behalf of PLAN-Boulder County by PBC board member Max Taffet on May 24, 2011 (see also PBC statements regarding the Planning Reserve):
Good evening members of the Boulder City council. I am here this evening representing my own convictions as well those of PLAN Boulder County. The many hours of work invested by Boulder City Council and the City staff into the update of the BVCP deserve enormous recognition.
However, I am here out of concern for policy questions around the Planning Reserve within Planning Area III. I urge you not to change the four-body review in the Planning Reserve to a two-body review.
The four-body review has served us well in ensuring that we do not have a development in the Planning Reserve that we regret. While the current council and the current planning board may want the Planning Reserve to meet a unique, unmet need in the City of Boulder, future decision-makers may not be so motivated. It would be unfortunate for the current council to act rashly and open the gate to uninspired future development.
The Planning Reserve now has its special designation as a result of county-wide collaboration. Is it really in the interest of the City of Boulder to cut out other County voices from this process, when such an action will give ground to other municipalities ignoring the City of Boulder’s interests that fall within their municipal spheres?
If anything, the City should bolster the four body review process and encourage the Commissioners to apply a similar four-body process to other municipalities who are contemplating expanding outside their current municipal service areas.
The current rules have created a wise separation of interests that have protected our community from development projects that serve only the interests of a narrow few. In many ways, the current system of four-body review on the Planning Reserve has and can continue to operate in our community’s interest without impeding the city’s ability to react in a timely manner when the “perfect” opportunity arises. PLAN-Boulder County fully supports the “baseline study” that will accelerate the community’s ability to respond to proposed projects. Without such a study, it is completely inappropriate to approve ANY development in the Planning Reserve. It would be unfortunate to confuse expedition with lowering our expectations and standards.